Lifting the sanctions -- not suspending them -- was the basis of the talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries over Tehran’s nuclear program, the Iranian president has said on Sunday.

"During the negotiations we discussed to terminate economic, financial and banking sanctions. We have never negotiated to suspend the sanctions," Hassan Rouhani said, according to the Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday: "The U.S. and EU nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.

“Suspension is obviously the first step. In terms of U.S. sanctions, it’s suspension and then later termination to ensure that Iran has abided by its commitments,” she said.

"We expect for the anti-Iran sanctions suspension piece to happen generally within the first year, but again, if Iran takes these steps more quickly, then the suspension can come more quickly.”

Rouhani added that if the parties had talked about suspending -- and not removing -- the sanctions in the negotiations, there would be no agreement.

"The world knows there is no other option except to have a deal with Iran," he said.

On Thursday evening, Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- the U.S., China, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany -- unveiled a preliminary framework for talks aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

They have set themselves a June 30 deadline for reaching a deal.  

Following the announcement, U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the negotiations with Iran as "historic,” while the parties cautioned there was more work to do.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday: "Iran is enriching uranium for the development of the country, not to threaten its neighbors.”

"With this deal, all sanctions on Iran will be lifted and a new era will begin."

Anadolu Agency